Lotte and Chunichi liked playing this game so much they decided to play 6 more innings! They liked THOSE extra innings so much they decided to replay the game tomorrow.
Yup, game 6 was a nearly 6 hour, 15 inning, finish-after-last-train 2-2 tie. Pretty much everybody played. Relief pitchers batted. Stupid decisions abounded. Clutch catches were gloved. Still, it didn’t count for anything!
A quick rundown, as my Internet is still not working in my hotel: Lotte took a 1-0 lead in the first inning after a leadoff double by Tsuyoshi, a failed bunt (!!!!) by Kiyota, and a timely single by Saburo.
Unfortunately, Chunichi tied it right back up in the bottom of the first with an RBI double by Morino. For the next few innings it was a pitchers duel as advertised with Naruse and Chen both pitching well, Naruse lookin especially sharp.
That changed in the 6th as Chunichi strung together some baserunners to get a scoring chance. With one out Tony Blanco crushed a ball to right. I thought it was gone, honestly, but it hit just off the top of the fence for a double. One run scored and Naruse got out of the inning without any more damage, so it was 2-1 Chunichi.
In the 8th Chen was pulled for Asao. Kiyota doubled, and Saburo brought him home with another timely single!!! Let me tell you, where I was in the visitor outfield was complete bedlam right then. The guy next to me jumped in my arms. People were falling down, hugging, screaming, everything! Awesome.
The game drifted into extra innings, and into madness. Pinch hitter Hosoya led off the 10th with a walk and Tsuyoshi was actually asked to bunt. You know, the guy with 206 hits this season. It went very badly, he popped it and Hosoya was doubled off.
In the Lotte 11th Iguchi led off with a first pitch single to right. Pitcher Takahashi looked gassed. Saburo is up, he of the two RBIs and two walks tonight. Naturally he’s ASKED TO BUNT. I like Nishimura-kantoku a lot but this is just indefensible in my opinion. How can you take the bat out of the hands of you hottest hitters – and your cleanup hitter! He does pretty much what Tsuyoshi did the previous inning, double play AGAIN. On top of it, Imae walked, Kim Tae Kyun singled, so if you just let Saburo hit you probably have. Run right now. Ugh! Satozaki comes to the plate and smashes a drive to center, but Oshima makes a great catch to rob him us of the runs. Wow. That could have been the championship.
In the Chunichi 11th they loaded the bases with 2 out thanks to walks given by Yabuta and Furuya. Araki came to the plate with a chance to win it and he lined it right at Kim Tae Kyun. WHEW. The guys around me in the outfield had to pat me on the back and say “daijobu, daijobu” to get me back. That was close!
There weren’t many real chances in the last few innings as I think everyone was worn out. The game went almost six hours and was the longest Japan Series game in history. Crazy!
I spent 6 hours screaming and bouncing, had to walk quite a bit of the way from Nagoya Dome to my hotel (eventually I hitched a ride with some Chunichi fans), and got in really late. I’ve rested today and got my strength back so I am ready for more cheering tonight!
Tonight – game 7, Watanabe vs Yoshimi, Lotte still leads 3-2! Let’s hope we get it done now!